Wednesday, February 20, 2019

What Makes It Great? Featuring Kyle Althayde Dance Party at Morris Museum's Bickford Theatre

Delve into the career of Duke Ellington with Rob Kapilow  

(Morristown, NJ) – The Morris Museum is pleased to announce the return of What Makes it Great  on Sunday, March 10, 2019 at 2:00PM after its successful first outing this past October. This program features Rob Kapilow and the Kyle Athayde Dance Party who will delve into the music of Duke Ellington.  After the program, there will be a complimentary reception to meet and mingle with the performers. 
Rob Kapilow will dissect and explore five masterpieces by Duke Ellington that span his great career.  After his discussion of each composition, the audience will listen to the full work performed by the Kyle Athayde Dance Party. A question and answer session with the artists will take place after all five pieces have been analyzed and performed.
This celebration of the 20th century’s greatest jazz composer will span the full range of Duke Ellington’s long career, from his wildly original reinventions of his own pop songs in the 1930s to his final studio album in 1971. Kapilow shows how Ellington continually pushed boundaries, reinventing music of all kinds in his own voice – from the blues to Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite” – while bringing the big band tradition to an astonishing creative height that continues to inspire musicians today. With the Kyle Athayde Dance Party,  Kapilow will explore: “It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing” (1931), a three-minute pop song Ellington transformed into the legendary jazz anthem, “Harlem Airshaft” (1940), the controversial piece he claimed was inspired by the myriad sounds heard in the airshaft of a Harlem apartment building, “Peanut Brittle Brigade” (1960), his own brilliant and sophisticated distillation of Tchaikovsky’s "Nutcracker Suite” “Single Petal of the Rose” (1959), inspired by a memorable meeting with Queen Elizabeth II, and “Chinoiserie” (1973) a translation of the music he heard during tours of Asia during his highly productive final years into his own unique language.
“Rob Kapilow captivated an audience that ranged in age from nine to ninety-four years old when he made his Morris Museum debut in October 2018,” states Brett Wellman Messenger, Curator of Public Programs at the Morris Museum. “Kapilow’s enthusiasm and deep knowledge about music is infectious. What is so surprising and special is that these programs are as fun as they are informative and one walks away able to hear even familiar music with new ears.”

Members: $30
Non-Members: $40
Seniors: $35
Students: $20 with ID

Tickets can be purchased by calling 973.971.3706 or by visiting
To become a Member, visit, email, or call 973.971.3721.   

NJSO to present Sarod & Scheherazade April 5-7

The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra presents Amjad Ali Khan’s Samaagam: A Concerto for Sarod, Concertante Group and String Orchestra and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, April 5–7. Music Director Xian Zhang conducts.

Western and Indian musical streams merge in Khan’s Samaagam, whose title means “confluence.” Khan’s sons, Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash, join the sarod master for the NJSO premiere of his concerto.

Performances take place on April 5 at 8 pm and April 7 at 3 pm at NJPAC in Newark and April 6 at 8 pm at State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick.

April 6 is College Night; $10 tickets for college students include the concert and an exclusive post-concert party. More information on College Night is available at

NJSO Accent events also include Classical Conversations one hour before the April 5 and 6 performances. The NJSO String Ensemble—part of the NJSO Youth Orchestras family of student ensembles—gives a Prelude Performance on April 7 at 2:15 pm. More information on NJSO Accent events is available at

Concert tickets start at $20 ($10 for students) and are available for purchase at or 1.800.ALLEGRO (255.3476).

The Program
Sarod & Scheherazade
Fri, Apr 5, at 8 pm | NJPAC in Newark
Sat, Apr 6, at 8 pm | State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick
Sun, Apr 7, at 3 pm | NJPAC in Newark

Xian Zhang, conductor
Amjad Ali Khan, sarod
Amaan Ali Bangash, sarod
Ayaan Ali Bangash, sarod
New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

AMJAD ALI KHAN Samaagam: A Concerto for Sarod, Concertante Group and String Orchestra (NJSO Premiere)

Classical Conversation – Fri, Apr 5, at 7 pm and Sat, Apr 6, at 7 pm
Enjoy a lively Classical Conversation before the performance. Learn more about the music from NJSO musicians, guest artists and other engaging insiders.

College Night – Sat, Apr 6, after the concert
$10 tickets for college students include the concert and a post-concert party with refreshments and a lively Q&A with NJSO musicians.

Prelude Performance – Sun, Apr 7, at 2:15 pm
Come early and enjoy a special Prelude Performance featuring one of the NJSO Youth Orchestras ensembles, led by Naomi Youngstein.

Additional concert information and artist bios are available at

Bank of America is concert sponsor of the April 6 and 7 performances.

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra
Named “a vital, artistically significant musical organization” by The Wall Street Journal, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra embodies that vitality through its statewide presence and critically acclaimed performances, education partnerships and unparalleled access to music and the Orchestra’s superb musicians.

Music Director Xian Zhang—a “dynamic podium presence” The New York Times has praised for her “technical abilities, musicianship and maturity”—continues her acclaimed leadership of the NJSO. The Orchestra presents classical, pops and family programs, as well as outdoor summer concerts and special events. Embracing its legacy as a statewide orchestra, the NJSO is the resident orchestra of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark and regularly performs at State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick, Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, Richardson Auditorium in Princeton, Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown and bergenPAC in Englewood. Partnerships with New Jersey arts organizations, universities and civic organizations remain a key element of the Orchestra’s statewide identity.

In addition to its lauded artistic programming, the NJSO presents a suite of education and community engagement programs that promote meaningful, lifelong engagement with live music. Programs include school-time Concerts for Young People; NJSO Youth Orchestras family of student ensembles, led by José Luis Domínguez; and El Sistema-inspired NJSO CHAMPS (Character, Achievement and Music Project). NJSO musicians annually perform original chamber music programs at community events in a variety of settings statewide through the NJSO Community Partners program.

For more information about the NJSO, visit or email Tickets are available for purchase by phone at 1.800.ALLEGRO (255.3476) or on the Orchestra’s website.

The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s programs are made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, along with many other foundations, corporations and individual donors.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Review: Ibsen's 'An Enemy of the People'- Randall Duk Kim gives master class level performance at CSC

L-R: Michael Irvin Pollard, Randall Duk Kim, Colleen Smith-Wallnau & Dominick Lusadi

In the decade that we have been reviewing both professional and community theater in New Jersey, we have consistently been reminded of the exceptional level of theater talent in our area. Several superior plays and performances that immediately come to mind are the George Street Playhouse production of 12 Angry Men, Chatham Playhouse’s Glengary Glen Ross with Michael King and David Cantor, Gloria Lamouruex in Shirley Valentine at the Chester Theatre Group, Katrina Ferguson as Maria Callas in Barbara Krajkowski’s Master Class, Colleen Smith-Wallnau in CSC’s recent presentation of The Last Apple Pie, and Liz Zazzi in anything she does. Oops, add Dale Monroe, Lynn Hart , Kevern Cameron and Chip Prestera to this list.

Ok, where is this leading? This past weekend the Centenary Stage Company premiered director’s Anne Occhiogrosso and Randall Duk Kim’s production of Henrik Ibsen’s classic An Enemy of the People, translated by John Alan Wyatt. 

Here is my one-word review…. WOW!

Randall Duk Kim and David Cantor
The play has a sensational cast led by Randall Duk Kim and David Cantor. All actors, aspiring actors, theater majors, or just plain theater lovers-this a master class in acting. The cost of the class is simply the price of a ticket. Randall Duk Kim is as fine an actor you will ever see. He plays the lead role of Dr. Stockmann, the idealist who becomes the “enemy of the people.”

David Cantor, never better, is the doctor’s elder brother and mayor. With his hat and cane, symbols of his exalted position, he leads the opposition against his own brother. The plot, no, not here except to say it concerns the doctor’s discovery that the town’s water supply is contaminated. The town is a tourist attraction because of the quality of its water, simply put-bad water equals-no tourists-equals no money.

The supporting cast is spot-on, led by Colleen Smith-Wallnau as Stockmanns loyal wife, at least in the powerful second act; David Sitler is Morten Kill, Dr. Stockmann’s foster-father and owner of the tannery; Michael Gabriel Goodfriend is the editor of the newspaper Hovstad, an early supporter of the doctor; Nick Bettens is Billing, a member of the paper’s staff; Michael Irvin Pollard as the printer Aslaksen (outstanding performances are the norm for Pollard); Chris Kolwicz is the Ship’s Captain, Stockmann’s faithful friend.

Playing Stockmann’s children are Brianna Morris as daughter Petra; Dominick Lusardi as older son Ejlif; and Finley Vaniman as young Morten.

The directors (husband and wife) offer these observations of the relevance of this 1882 play today: “Inexperienced leadership, governance of the super rich whose expertise rests in profit not people, a crumbling political system….gender inequality…..fear of anyone different from ourselves” and possibly the most dangerous….”an uniformed public.” In other words, how little has changed in all these years.

This is a remarkable play with equally remarkable performances. Your post play conversation will last long after the drive home. Again, see this production, if only for the ”master class” performance of Randall Duk Kim.

Reviewed by Rick Busciglio Feb. 17, 2019

Centenary Stage Company’s production of Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, will run through March 3 in the Sitnik Theatre of the Lackland Performing Arts Center, Hackettstown, New Jersey. This production marks the culmination of the 2018 Gates Ferry Lecture Series: “What is Truth?”

To purchase tickets, call the Centenary Stage Company box office at (908) 979 0900 or visit

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Studio Montclair presents “Divergent Evolution,” a special exhibit

Studio Montclair presents “Divergent Evolution,” an exhibit from March 7 to April 20, 2019 at Studio Montclair Gallery, 127 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair, NJ. An opening reception will take place on Friday, March 8 from 7 to 9pm. The exhibit, featuring artwork by diverse artists throughout the United States, includes one or more artworks from each artist that demonstrate the evolution of their creative process.

The exhibit not only demonstrates an extraordinary range of materials, styles, and subject matter, but also offers the intrigue of observing common threads and preoccupations within the works of individual artists. Says Curator Emma Wilcox about the exhibit, “As an artist and culture worker much of the dialogue I am part of revolves around where the attributes of a given artwork come from; the connection of that piece to the other works in a series an artist is creating; antecedents in prior antecedents in prior works or series; the influences of other artists. I love this kind of talk; we all do it all the time, publicly or privately. Divergent Evolution is an opportunity to share some of that talk.”

About the Juror:
Emma Wilcox is the Gallery Director at Gallery Aferro, where, with Co-Founder and Artistic Director Evonne Davis, she has designed and implemented hundreds of exhibits, public programs, educational initiatives, public art projects as well as more than two dozen publications. Wilcox is a practicing artist. She studied photography at the School of Visual Arts and was part of the 2015-2017 cohort of the Prudential Foundation Nonprofit Executive Fellows Program at the Institute for Ethical Leadership at Rutgers Business School. Ms. Wilcox lectures regularly on art and cultural engagement topics, including a 2016 TedX talk.

Participating Artists
Jose Arvelo, Mariette Boerstoel, Jennifer Crohn, Louis DiLauri, Anne Dushanko Dobek, Andrea Epstein, Laurie Fusco, Elizabeth Ginsberg, Alice Harrison, Paul Jervis, Rachel Laufer, Cheryl McNamara, Bud McNichol, Arthur Paxton, Bobbie Polton, Marcy Pope, Ron Powell, Matt Roberts, Danielle Stauss, Elie Porter Trubert, 
Nikki Vismara, Sue Eldridge Ward, Gail Watkins 

Listing Information for the Exhibition:

Exhibition Dates: March 7 to April 20, 2019
Gallery: Studio Montclair Gallery, 127 Bloomfield Ave, Montclair, NJ
Gallery Hours:
Wednesday thru Friday 11am-3pm; Saturday 12-3pm
Opening Reception: Friday, March 8, 7-9pm
Studio Montclair Contact Info:, 862-500-1447

About Studio Montclair: Studio Montclair is a nonprofit organization of exhibiting professional artists and others interested in the visual arts. Its mission is to promote culture and education in the visual arts and encourage emerging artists. Founded in 1997, the organization includes over 450 members including artists from around the United States, as well as Europe and Asia. For more information, contact, or call 862-500-1447

Saturday, February 16, 2019

'Cosi fan tutte' at Light Opera of NJ !

Join us for the next production of our 24th Season!

April 12 & April 13, 2019  
8 PM both nights 

Light Opera of New Jersey continues its 24th Season of operetta and musical theatre with a production of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Così fan tutte directed by Dorothy Danner with musical direction by Jason Tramm. April 12 and April 13, 2019 at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 140 South Finley Avenue, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920. Tickets at or by calling 908-903-0700.